in·​ter·​est | \ˈin-t(ə-)rəst; ˈin-tə-ˌrest, -ˌtrest;ˈin-tərst\

Definition of interest 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a feeling that accompanies or causes special attention to an object or class of objects : concern

b : something that arouses such attention

c : a quality in a thing arousing interest

3a : a charge for borrowed money generally a percentage of the amount borrowed

b : the profit in goods or money that is made on invested capital

c : an excess above what is due or expected returned the insults with interest

4a(1) : right, title, or legal share in something

(2) : participation in advantage and responsibility

b : business, company


interested; interesting; interests

Definition of interest (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to engage the attention or arouse the interest of

2 : to induce or persuade to participate or engage

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Examples of interest in a Sentence


She told us about her lifelong interest in music. The kids listened to the speaker for a little while, but then lost interest. The speaker wasn't able to hold their interest. She took an active interest in the political debate. He expressed an interest in learning more about photography. The stories about his personal life add interest to the book. I thought this article might be of interest to you. We visited many places of interest on our vacation. The price of the ticket was a matter of interest to everyone. Music is one of her many interests.


Military history doesn't really interest me. It might interest you to know that the woman in this photograph is your great-grandmother. It interested me to learn that she had once lived in California. The salesman tried to interest me in a more expensive computer.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Many focus on the early stages of the disease, so that is the ideal time to start expressing interest in participating. Korin Miller, SELF, "Are There Early Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease to Watch For?," 28 Nov. 2018 But Mueller’s interest in him is clearly very real. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "New developments about Mueller, Manafort, and Corsi.," 27 Nov. 2018 For collectors and students of the Beatles’ music, the remix is a sideshow; the real interest is in the extras. Allan Kozinn, WSJ, "The Beatles’ Big Ideas Turn 50," 9 Nov. 2018 Inbound interest was so high at one point that the company issued a stern warning to dealmakers to back off from the company and its shareholders. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "Coinbase, the startup at the core of the crypto craze, is now considered an $8 billion company," 2 Oct. 2018 Becoming a fully-fledged, respected designer came with its hurdles, though, like the assumption that Beckham's interest in fashion was of the fleeting variety. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "How Victoria Beckham Went From Posh Spice to Prestige Fashion Designer," 17 Sep. 2018 The shift reflects the Federal Reserve’s three interest-rate increases this year. Mike Bird, WSJ, "Yuan Under Pressure as U.S. Treasury Yields Top Chinese Rates," 19 Nov. 2018 Where does your interest in the botanical world come from? Laura Regensdorf, Vogue, "Rodarte's Laura and Kate Mulleavy Talk Gender in Fashion, Floral Infatuations, and Their Dream Beauty Project," 14 Nov. 2018 One of my pet interests at the moment is whether a decentralized social network, a la Mastodon, could avoid some of the problems that the big tech platforms have encountered. Casey Newton, The Verge, "The fake video era of US politics has arrived on Twitter," 9 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But Barr isn't interested in the commentary, shouting into the camera about Jarrett and Iran. Julyssa Lopez, Glamour, "Roseanne Barr Addresses Valerie Jarrett Tweet in Unhinged Video: 'I Thought the B*tch Was White'," 20 July 2018 By comparing this information with analyses of other trailers, Merlin can try to predict what films might interest the people who saw Logan. James Vincent, The Verge, "20th Century Fox is using AI to analyze movie trailers and find out what films audiences will like," 2 Nov. 2018 Other casting details, like who might play Emma's love interests Mr. Knightley and Mr. Elton, have yet to be announced. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "A New Adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma Is in the Works," 26 Oct. 2018 Celebrities are only interesting some of the time, Bell said on the latest episode of Recode Media. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Twitter earnings, Why the stock market is falling," 25 Oct. 2018 Fashion exhibitions actually interest people and always draw crowds so someone should do it. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Archives Matter, But for Many Designers—Like Ann-Sofie Back Who Is Putting Hers on Sale This Week—They Are an Unaffordable Luxury," 24 Oct. 2018 In navigating the complex college admission process, students ought to ask any college that interests them if and how the school factors in race. Charlotte West, Teen Vogue, "What It Means to Check the “Race” Box on College Applications," 25 Sep. 2018 If those deals don’t interest you there are tons of other deals as part of today’s sale. Ian Paul, PCWorld, "Amazon's huge one-day PC networking and storage sale is packed with tech at all-time low prices," 5 Sep. 2018 Dodgers interest in Manny has cooled since the Orioles asked for Max Muncy, Matt Kemp and the Santa Monica Pier. Paul Daugherty,, "Paul Daugherty: Imagine if the Reds were buyers instead of sellers at MLB trade deadline," 13 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'interest.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of interest


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4a(1)


1608, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for interest


Middle English, probably alteration of earlier interesse, from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin, from Latin, to be between, make a difference, concern, from inter- + esse to be — more at is

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Learn More about interest

Statistics for interest

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for interest

The first known use of interest was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for interest



Financial Definition of interest

What It Is

Interest is the cost of borrowing money for a certain period of time.

How It Works

Let's assume you need $500,000 to buy a house. The "price" of borrowing that money is interest, and it is expressed as a percentage of the amount of money you obtain. The borrower pays the interest to the lender. The rate of interest reflects the time value of money, the borrower's credit risk, inflation rates and a variety of other market conditions.

Why It Matters

Interest rates are some of the most powerful and influential components of an economy. As a result,The definition of interest on InvestingAnswers most countries take a keen interest, if not an active role, in monitoring interest rates. They also affect individual, day-to-day consumer decisions, such as determining whether it's a good time to buy a house, borrow money for a college degree, or put money in a specific type of bank account.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of interest

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a feeling of wanting to learn more about something or to be involved in something

: a quality that attracts your attention and makes you want to learn more about something or to be involved in something

: something (such as a hobby) that a person enjoys learning about or doing



English Language Learners Definition of interest (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause (someone) to want to learn more about something or to become involved in something

: to persuade (someone) to have, take, or participate in (something)


in·​ter·​est | \ˈin-trəst, ˈin-tə-rəst\

Kids Definition of interest

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a feeling of concern or curiosity about or desire to be involved with something an interest in music We lost interest in the game.

2 : a quality that makes something more appealing or interesting Personal stories add interest to the book.

3 : something that a person enjoys learning about or doing Sports is one of his many interests.

4 : something that provides help or benefit to a person or group It's in your interest to study.

5 : the money paid by a borrower for the use of borrowed money

6 : the profit made on money that is invested

7 : a right, title, or legal share in something They bought out his interest in the company.

8 interests plural : a group financially interested in an industry or business mining interests


interested; interesting

Kids Definition of interest (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to persuade to become involved in Can I interest you in joining us?

2 : to arouse and hold the concern, curiosity, or attention of This movie doesn't interest me.

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in·​ter·​est | \ˈin-trəst; ˈin-tə-rəst, -ˌrest \

Legal Definition of interest 

1 : a right, title, claim, or share in property

Article Nine security interest

: security interest in this entry

beneficial interest

: the right to the use and benefit of property a beneficial interest in the trust

contingent interest

: a future interest whose vesting is dependent upon the occurrence or nonoccurrence of a future event — compare vested interest in this entry

controlling interest

: sufficient stock ownership in a corporation to exert control over policy

equitable interest

: an interest (as a beneficial interest) that is held by virtue of equitable title or that may be claimed on the ground of equitable relief claimed an equitable interest in the debtor's assets

executory interest

: a future interest other than a remainder or reversion that may take effect upon the divesting of a prior interest or one created simultaneously

Note: Unlike a remainder, an executory interest does not require the expiration of a prior interest. It was designed to guard against the destructibility of contingent remainders set forth in the rule in Shelley's case.

expectation interest

: the interest of a party to a breached contract in receiving the benefit of the bargain by being put in a position as good as that which would have resulted had the contract been performed

called also expectancy interest

— compare reliance interest in this entry

future interest

: an interest in property limited or created so that its owner will come into the use, possession, or enjoyment of it at some future time — see also contingent interest and executory interest in this entry — compare remainder, reversion

insurable interest

: an interest or stake in property or in a person that arises from the potential for especially financial loss upon the destruction of the property or the death of the person and that is a requirement for enforcing an insurance contract

Note: The purpose of requiring an insurable interest is to prevent the use of insurance as a form of gambling or as a method of profiting from destruction.

legal interest

: an interest that is recognized in law (as by legal title) — compare equitable interest in this entry, legal title at title

life interest

: an interest lasting for the duration of a person's life that forecloses the ability to affect the property beyond that term — compare life estate at estate sense 1

possessory interest

: an interest (as a right) involving or arising out of the possession of property

Note: A possessory interest is based on control rather than use. Thus a lessee who occupies and controls the use of property has a possessory interest, while a party who has an easement does not.

purchase money security interest

1 : the security interest held by the seller of collateral to secure payment of all or part of the price

2 : the security interest of a person that gives value to a debtor so that the debtor may acquire rights in or the use of collateral

reliance interest

: the interest of a party to a breached contract in being compensated for detriments suffered (as expenses incurred) in reliance on the agreement — compare expectation interest in this entry

reversionary interest

: an interest in property (as a possibility of reverter or a power of termination) remaining in the transferor of the property or in his or her successor in interest

security interest

1 : an interest in property that exists by contract as security for payment or performance of an obligation the security interest of a mortgagee in the mortgaged property also : lien

Note: While a lien may be created by statutory or judicial means without any agreement providing for security (as in the case of a tax lien or judgment lien), a security interest and lien may inhere in the same claim, as when a mortgage comprises both a lien on and security interest in the mortgaged property.

2 : an interest in personal property or fixtures created by a security agreement that secures payment or performance of an obligation the creditor had a security interest in the inventory and accounts receivable of the business

called also Article Nine security interest

— see also attach sense 3, collateral sense 2, perfect entry 2 sense b, purchase money security interest in this entry

Note: Security interests in personal property are governed by Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code. The security interest set out in Article 9 largely replaces the traditional devices for security, such as the pledge and chattel mortgage. A security interest in property that has attached enables a creditor to obtain satisfaction of a debt out of the property without the need to obtain a judgment in court and levy on the property. Further, it provides the creditor with priority over competing claims against the property.

terminable interest

: an interest (as in a life estate) that will terminate upon the occurrence of an event or the passing of time

vested interest

: a present and certain right to the present or future enjoyment of property — compare contingent interest in this entry

working interest

: the interest of a party that holds the right to oil, gas, or minerals on a property and that bears production costs — see also overriding royalty

2 : a specific concern or level of involvement (as financial involvement) especially that warrants recognition or causes bias had a right to intervene because of an interest in the litigation recused himself due to an interest in the matter — see also conflict of interest

3 : something that causes or warrants particular attention: as

a : a principle, purpose, or object of concern

compelling state interest

: a governmental interest (as in educating children or protecting the public) which is so important that it outweighs individual rights

public interest

1a : the general welfare and rights of the public that are to be recognized, protected, and advanced the attorney general has standing as a representative of the public interest

b : a specific public benefit or stake in something the public interest in controlling crime

2 : the concern or attention of the public a matter of widespread public interest

b : a right especially that arises from a constitution (as the U.S. Constitution) especially : such a right considered as an issue or claim created in or involving a particular situation or thing no person will be deprived of his interests in the absence of a proceeding in which he may present his case Marshall v. Jerrico, Inc., 446 U.S. 238 (1980)

liberty interest

: an interest in freedom from governmental deprivation of liberty especially without due process the liberty interest implicated by the needless discouragement of the exercise of the right to counselState v. Albert, 899 P.2d 103 (1995) (dissent)

privacy interest

: an interest in freedom from governmental intrusion into matters in which one has a reasonable expectation of privacy we have no privacy interest protected by the federal Constitution in limiting public or government access to knowledge of our financial transactions— L. H. Tribe

property interest

: an interest in freedom from governmental deprivation of property and sources of financial gain (as employment or a government benefit) without due process broadly : something (as a job or benefit) to which one has a legitimate claim of entitlement and that cannot be taken away without due process as distinguished from the unprotected object of a need, desire, or expectation

4 : the well-being of a person often used in pl. does not serve the child's best interests

5 : a charge for the use of another's money that is usually a percentage of the money being used an account yielding 7% interest paid back the loan with interest

compound interest

: interest computed on the sum of the original principal and accrued interest

legal interest

: a lawful interest rate and especially the highest rate allowed proposals to increase the legal interest on department store credit cards to 15%American Banker also : interest computed at such a rate awarded the defendant legal interest — compare usury

qualified residence interest

: interest that is deductible from adjusted gross income under federal tax law when it is paid on debt that is secured by one's residence and that was incurred for the acquisition, construction, improvement, or refinancing of the residence or through a home equity loan

simple interest

: interest computed on the principal of a loan or account

History and Etymology for interest

probably alteration of earlier interesse, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin, from Latin, to be between, make a difference, concern, from inter- between, among + esse to be

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Comments on interest

What made you want to look up interest? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a nest or breeding place

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